Facebook Trumps Google For New York Times Paywall

Clicking on a Facebook share of a New York Times article gets you right through the site's newest paywall free of charge and on an unlimited basis.

Clicking on a Facebook share of a New York Times article gets you right through the site’s newest paywall free of charge and on an unlimited basis.

Yesterday, the Times revamped its fee structure to reflect how people access the content, and those coming from Facebook and Twitter get unlimited free reading. Those who arrive at NYT articles from Google will be limited to five free visits per day.

According to Matt Rosoff from Business Insider, the Times sees a clear traffic pattern, where social networking sites are driving “a ton of newspaper traffic.” MG Siegler at TechCrunch basically shares the same opinion, but adds an interesting nuance: Because people who use Facebook and Twitter to access news are usually younger, tech savvy, and are used to getting information at no cost, the NYT is trying to preserve that relationship with those users… at least for now.

The new move also reminded me that, a few months ago, NYT announced that it would let users log into the newspaper using their Facebook accounts, even though the newspaper already had its own variant of a social network in TimesPeople. The decision seemed to be a significant validation from one of the world’s most respectable news source to the social network, and a clear sign that the times are a-changin’.

Do you guys think this is a smart move for The New York Times, and if so, is it a sustainable one? Will this help the media outlet regain more audience lost to sites like the Huffington Post?